BOZEMAN - The Omicron variant is here in several states in the U.S. but has it entered into Montana?
“As of today, no cases of Omicron have been detected in Montana and the specimens that are collected and sequenced from October to November are almost exclusively the Delta variants,” said Gallatin City-County Health Officer Lori Christenson during the weekly health meeting on Friday.
The first case of the Omicron variant in the United States was confirmed Wednesday, December 1st, but as the health officer mentioned the main concern in Gallatin County is still Delta.
“Vaccination really does remain vital," said Christenson. "They are highly effective at preventing severe disease in death from the delta variant, which remains the most… excuse me… remains the current variant dominant in the U.S. and in Montana.”
Though Gallatin County remains free from the Omicron variant, people have been seeking out booster shots more and it started a few weeks ago.
“We’ve seen a general increase in booster acceptance and people seeking appointments for booster doses," said Kallie Kujawa of Bozeman Health. "I think that largely, initially has to do with the opening of the CDC and the FDA guidance for all the individuals to receive the booster dose.”
The health officer says variants of COVID-19 are so concerning because very little is known about the mutations.
“Being uncertain about how easily this virus is transmitted, how it could potentially evade our current therapeutic options that are available, as well, as there is some uncertainty about the effectiveness around the vaccine with this new variant,” said Christenson.
The Health Department says more than 16,000 booster shots have already been administered throughout the county.
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